Aussies sweep series
David Warner hammered the second-fastest Twenty20 international half-century to hand Australia an eight-wicket win over West Indies and complete their dreams of an unbeaten summer. Warner raced to fifty from 18 deliveries, beating his own 19-ball effort from last season, as Australia reeled in the target of 139 with a ridiculous 50 deliveries to spare.
West Indies' total looked semi-competitive until the first over of the chase when Warner and Shane Watson took 26 off Kemar Roach, who bowled too short and allowed Warner to swing through midwicket. There were three sixes in the over - as many as the visitors hit in their entire innings - and the contest was all but decided.
By the time Warner had cleared the boundary off Darren Sammy in the second over, he had 33 from eight deliveries and Yuvraj Singh's 12-ball half-century record was conceivably in danger. He struck seven sixes in total, all in the midwicket to long-on region and including at least one off each of the six bowlers he faced, before he holed out for 67 from 29.
At the other end, Watson was so good that he too entered the list of quickest fifties, when he reached the mark from 26 balls, but he was utterly cast into the shadows while Warner was at the crease. Watson finished with an unbeaten 62 from 33 and after Brad Haddin fell with one run needed, the debutant Daniel Christian struck a four to complete the triumph.
The win ended the summer on a high for Australia, who since the introduction of ODIs in the 1970s had only had one other summer - 2000-01 - when they didn't lose a match. Warner and Watson blazed home but the result was really set up by an outstanding effort in the field as they again caused problems for West Indies' top order.
The debutants Ryan Harris and Christian grabbed two early wickets each and Steven Smith was everywhere in the field, producing one of the most memorable catches of the summer. The trouble started when Chris Gayle tried to flick Harris over square leg and top-edged to Smith at third man for 12.
Harris followed two balls later with Runako Morton, who edged to Cameron White at second slip for a golden duck. White's catch was sharp but there was far better to come from Smith, who had impressed in the first game on Sunday with two athletic takes on the boundary.
He eclipsed those efforts with a leaping catch at deep midwicket to give Christian his maiden international wicket when Travis Dowlin's heave off middle stump looked to be sailing for six. Dowlin was the man who appeared most likely to guide a West Indies recovery and he made an admirable 31 from 32 balls without ever truly finding perfect touch.
Dowlin needed more assistance from the middle order but Morton, Kieron Pollard, Wavell Hinds and Dwayne Smith at Nos. 3 to 6 all failed to reach double figures. Hinds fell victim to Australia's slick fielding when he tried to get off the mark with a perilous single only to see White at point throw to Smith at the bowler's end where the batsman was short.
SCORES IN BRIEF
WEST INDIES: 138-7 (Deonarine 36 n o; Harris 2-27)
AUSTRALIA: 142-2 (Warner 67, Watson 62 n o)
Result: Australia won by eight wickets.
Man-of-the-match: David Warner.